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By Michelle Mathews
It's surprising that Christianity didn't embrace the idea of evolution decades ago. Though they claim God is immutable, the church has had to constantly revamp its beliefs--evolve, that is--to remain in mainstream society. No, church, women are not the witch-vessels of Satan. No, the sun doesn't revolve around the Earth. Yes, it's wrong to keep slaves. Despite engaging in the evolution of theology, many Christians still won't embrace Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. (Maybe they just can't comprehend the argument; as the Bible says, "Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards.") On the other hand, Michael Dowd, the author of THANK GOD FOR EVOLUTION, thinks Darwin's theory can bring Christians closer to "spiritual fulfillment." Is this just another twist on intelligent design, or can Dowd's ideas really reconcile science and religion? Find out for yourself when he speaks at Unity Church of Dallas, 6525 Forest Lane, 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free, but a "love offering" will be collected.
Lou Dobbs Tonight
The following is a transcript of Rev. Dowd's appearance on Lou Dobbs Tonight.
SYLVESTER: There is a growing movement that critics say will reintroduce intelligence design or creationism in our schools, the focus of concern now, so-called "Academic Freedom bills." Opponents of these bills say they are just back door attempts to bring religion into the classroom. Bill Tucker has our report.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The basic working knowledge right now of Evolutionary theory...
BILL TUCKER, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Teaching the concept of Intelligent Design as biological theory, explaining life on earth, was banned in schools by a federal judge in Dover, Pennsylvania in 2005. The court found Intelligent Design to be philosophical, a religious concept, not scientific theory. The Discovery Institute continues to actively support Intelligent Design. And the institute also actively supports so-called "Academic Freedom" bills, to protect instructors who, it says, teach the "strengths and weaknesses" of Evolutionary theory.
Erie Times News
Traveling minister spreads his 'Gospel of Evolution'by Dana Massing
EDINBORO -- The white van parked outside the church had a pair of kissing fish painted on the side, red hearts above them. Inside the black outline of one fish was the name "Jesus." Inside the other fish, which had feet, was the name "Darwin." Inside the church, the Rev. Michael Dowd was preaching the marriage of religion and science. "
Two reporters reviewed a book which argues evolution is a God-guided process, but from two different perspectives
Michael Dowd's new book "Thank God for Evolution!" is meant for one specific demographic: humans. It intelligently explores the amalgamation of creationist thought and an evolutionary world view, all from the (mostly) objective angle of Dowd, who is a protestant reverend.
What really drove home Dowd's meaning came before he even touched any scientific evidence or mind-bogglingly fresh concepts (although those are not far behind) was a letter of sorts. It is the simple promise he makes to his readers, blunt yet meaningful, before they even begin the book.
Dowd addresses each type of reader personally, spanning from fundamental Christians to humanists to Muslims to those who "begrudgingly accept evolution" and everyone in between.
He pledges to each that they can embrace his book in a way that will expand their relationships over a broad perspective. Quite a promise, especially with only one book and so many different humans.
by Claire Hoffman
I was just about to toss my New York Times Magazine this morning when this article on Darwinists for Jesus fell open. It's about evolutionary evangelist Michael Dowd who, with his wife, has been traveling the nation and preaching on the sacredness of evolution. I love stories like this, that show the ways that religious thinking can adapt and synthesize to totally modern theories.
Yudhijit Bhattacharjee writes in the Times article that "For the last six years, he has traveled across North America with his wife, Connie Barlow, in a van that displays an image of two fish kissing each other — one labeled Jesus, the other Darwin — explaining to conservative and liberal congregations why understanding and accepting evolution will bring them closer to spiritual fulfillment. The religious advantage to embracing the evolutionary worldview, Dowd says, is that it explains our frailties, our addictions, our infidelities and other moral deficiencies as byproducts of adaptation over billions of years. And that, he says, has a potentially liberating effect: never mind guilt; once we understand our sinful ways, we can get past them and play a conscious role in the evolution of humanity."
The New York Times Magazine
by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee
In 1981, Michael Dowd would have counted himself among the millions of conservative Christians who blame Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and the idea of a godless, purposeless universe for the moral decline of society. That year, as a freshman at Evangel University in Springfield, Mo., Dowd felt a rush of indignant anger in biology class when the professor held up a textbook that taught evolution. As he stormed out of the classroom, Dowd could not have imagined that he would come to view evolution as a spiritually inspiring idea that religion must embrace.
In the years that followed, Dowd shed his more conservative views and served as a pastor in the liberal United Church of Christ. Today he calls himself an evolutionary evangelist. For the last six years, he has traveled across North America with his wife, Connie Barlow, in a van that displays an image of two fish kissing each other — one labeled Jesus, the other Darwin — explaining to conservative and liberal congregations why understanding and accepting evolution will bring them closer to spiritual fulfillment. The religious advantage to embracing the evolutionary worldview, Dowd says, is that it explains our frailties, our addictions, our infidelities and other moral deficiencies as byproducts of adaptation over billions of years. And that, he says, has a potentially liberating effect: never mind guilt; once we understand our sinful ways, we can get past them and play a conscious role in the evolution of humanity.
On Sunday, couple brings message to area that marries religion to science.
by John P. Cleary
Evolution isn't quite the controversial topic the media makes it out to be, says the Rev. Michael Dowd.
The media like to focus on extremes, says Dowd, an ordained minister and former Pentecostal pastor. There is a group, he says, between the creationist and intelligent design groups who think Charles Darwin's "Origin of the Species" is the work of the devil and the outspoken atheists who hold all religion in scorn. They are the millions of ordinary people, a vast majority who see no conflict between the scientific concepts of evolution and their faith, Dowd says.
Dowd is the author of "Thank God for Evolution," published in June, which explores what he calls evolution theology, the spectrum of ideas between the two absolute positions. He'll give a talk on the topic Sunday at the First Baptist Church in Painted Post.
"What my book attempts to do is give voice to the millions of people in the middle," he says. "I tell them that science and religion can be mutually enriching, mutually enhancing, and can, in many ways, spur each other to greatness."
The Global Spiral
By William Grassie
Michael Dowd, Thank God for Evolution!: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World. San Francisco: Council Oak Books, 2007. 432 pages, $24.95.
Japanese Buddhists use the term “the stench of Enlightenment,” or so I have been told, to describe someone who has newly achieved satori. The newly initiated or born-again religious believer is often just too much to take, hence “the stench”! With time and maturity, the Zen masters reassure us, the over enthusiasm of the newly enlightened will wear off a bit, and a more mature spirituality will ensue.
Rochester Messenger Post
A minister and his wife, a science writer, will visit the area later this month to discuss evolutionary theology, which teaches that biblical Creation and evolution are not mutually exclusive.
ROCHESTER - Among the major questions most religions seek to answer are, “Where did we come from?” and “How did life on earth begin?” While the biblical account in the first chapter of the book of Genesis describes God creating day, night, land, sea and all living things in a span of six days, the scientific theory of evolution suggests that life as we know it evolved over billions of years. But two religious writers — the Rev. Michael Dowd and his wife, science writer Connie Barlow — argue that those perspectives aren’t mutually exclusive. Dowd and Barlow will come to the area this month for a series of talks and workshops on the topic of “evolution theology.” The philosophy — which has been around for about half a century and was made famous in the early 1990s in “The Universe Story,” a book by cosmologist Brian Swimme and priest Thomas Berry — argues that Creation stories such as those in the Bible and in American Indian myths are as truthful and valid as the scientific view of evolution.
Erie Times News
By Dana Massing
The Rev. Michael Dowd once would argue with anyone who thought the world was more than 6,000 years old.Now, the former anti-evolution fundamentalist preaches a message that's gotten him nicknamed an evolutionary evangelist.Dowd will preach his "Gospel of Evolution" in Edinboro and Meadville this week.The Rev. Joanne Rowden, pastor of Unity in Edinboro, one of the churches hosting Dowd, heard him on the radio more than a year ago. She found his perspective refreshing."He had an approach to evolution where God wasn't taken out of the picture," Rowden said.